Cast Iron

Great intro info:

More info on seasoning with flax oil here.

Eden’s Birth

In honor of my baby girl’s second birthday, which just passed, I am finally posting her lovely birth story.

Change in Plans

We were supposed to be going to Nashville to visit with our friends David and Vicky that Friday after our morning appointment with our midwife, Debi. But there was tons of snow and ice in their area that would have made getting to their house impossible.  Several people had expressed concern about us going over so close to the baby’s birth, but I was certain she would not be coming two weeks early.  That simply was not the way it had gone any of the four previous times.  Despite my assurance, they were all very relieved that the weather didn’t permit us to go.

Let the Messages Begin!

Our appointment with Debi was at 10 am.  I messaged all my sisters with the update:

Debi checked me just a bit ago and her immediate response was, “Ooooh!” She said I was VERY soft and 3.5 cm. She felt lots of hair. 🙂  She said she wouldn’t be surprised if we had the baby this week. BUT I’ve heard that before with all the other babies, so I’m not betting on it. Her point was that in the spectrum of “green” (cervix not ready) to “ripe” (cervix very ready), I’m at the ripe level. As soon as I get contractions that are regular, this baby will be here. She suggested more dancing this Shabbat and said, “Let’s have a baby!” 🙂

By 12:17, shortly after getting home after the appointment, I texted Debi with a screenshot of my contractions, which were about 2 minutes apart and lasting between 30 seconds and one minute. I said, “I don’t know if this is because of the digging today, but I wanted you keep you posted.  They are not stronger than usual.  Just coming frequently.  No more mucus yet.  I’m lying down to see if they’ll taper off.”

I updated the girls. “We may have an impromptu erev here tonight if this keeps up. I’ll keep you posted here.”

SEND SOMEONE FOR A HOSE,” Casey replied.  A new hose to fill the birthing tub that would be blown up in our master bedroom was the one main thing I hadn’t gotten yet, thinking there was still plenty of time. But my mom was already on it.  She grabbed one on her break that afternoon and was poised and ready to leave work at the next notice from me.

Lying down with Simeon did not stop the contractions. They were still rolling in every 2 minutes and lasting 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Though I had been lying down the whole hour, I hadn’t been able to sleep.

Debi canceled her 2 o’clock appointment and told me to get up and see what happened.

“Could this really be it even though I haven’t lost any mucus?”

“Oh yes it could be…Even without the mucus.”

We decided we’d check back in an hour.  But just a few minutes later, I checked myself and got nasty chunky bloody stuff on my finger.  I texted her a picture, because midwives are down with that kind of stuff.

“Mean anything?”

You’d think after doing this four other times, I’d be more sure of the process.  But it’s never the same.

“The cervix is opening,” was her reply.

I sat down at Erich’s desk and cried.  “I’m not ready.”

“Yes, you are,” he assured me.  He reminded me of our Abba’s perfect timing and prayed for us.  He was excited.  “Let’s do this!”

My sisters who were all in the midst of Shabbat prep, began wrapping things up in order to position themselves to be here when I gave the word.

An hour later, at 2:49pm, my body was still cranking out contractions every two minutes, and I began to feel it a little more in my back. Debi decided to head this way. Mom did too. Even though I was still not convinced this was really it, I really wanted all my sisters here. (Turns out that wanting my mom and all my sisters to be with me is a sure sign labor is underway.)

“Mom is almost home,” I told them. “Debi is on her way. I don’t know if this is it, but contractions haven’t spaced out at all, so anyone who wants to come and who won’t be upset if this is a false alarm is welcome to come.”

The Birth Party

That was all the invitation they needed.  The birth party was underway within that hour.

Kristina was in the kitchen cooking up a feast for the entire crew.

Mari was there, offering the perfect words of truth to encourage me at the perfect time.

Casey was making sure I stayed hydrated and took time to sort through the pile of girl clothes she had given me a while before, but which I still hadn’t gotten around to pulling out and organizing.  She also caught the early moments of birth on video for us.

Farrah, pregnant with her first baby, was crying almost continually and asking great questions at every turn.

Laurie was cheering me on and praying.

Alex, a new friend who is a nursing student with aspirations to become a midwife, was there too.

And, of course, Myrna. Somehow, my body has waited until her arrival to kick into high gear these last two births.

The house was buzzing with sweet activity.  I roamed around, having those stop-what-you’re-doing-and-wag-your-bottom contractions in the kitchen and in the living room.  Once the tub began to be prepared, I transitioned up to the room.

My dear friends hauled up pots of boiling water for the tub. (Yes, we actually did need boiling water for this birth. I always thought the boiling water thing was a joke, but it was no joke when our hot water tank decided it couldn’t get the birth tub filled up in time.)

As I waited for the tub, I had the shivers, my tell-tale sign of transition.  Debi checked me.  Bag of waters was bulging.  I was 6-7 cm, maybe even 8.  I had full permission to enter the never-disappointing hot water of the tub.

I encountered the familiar, but ever-exciting, sensations of the baby rapidly descending.  Knowing where I was in the process, and how quickly things would move from there, I sent word to the girls downstairs that whoever wanted to see the baby’s birth should come up quickly,  because this baby was coming soon.

Pushing

The room filled with all my loved ones.  In just a few minutes, with a calm matter-of-factness, I informed Debi I would be pushing soon. Sure enough, that’s just how it went.  After just a few minutes of pushing, I announced, “Okay, there’s the head. All done.”

Debi checked. “It was just the water.”

“Not the head?” I said incredulously. Then I whined a bit as I entered my next contraction.

Despite my disappointment, it was only about three minutes more before she was born.

And she was perfect.

We sat in the water together recovering from the whirlwind of activity we had just gone through.  Then family introductions were made.  Madeline, on the verge of tears, came to see her new sister.  Kieryn, always full of empathy, felt badly that we were in a tub full of blood.  Anson and Simeon greeted their new baby sister with eagerness.

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Happy Endings and New Beginnings

Though Eden Naomi was two weeks early according to my due date, she came right on time:

Friday evening, February 20, 2015, 6:55pm.
8 lbs 8 oz.

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I couldn’t have planned it better if I had tried. My entire family was present. Erich and I were overwhelmed by the support.

Shortly after the birth I sent out Facebook thank-you’s. I ended with Debi:

You are an incredible midwife. I have loved every appointment and labor I’ve had with you. Maybe we’ll do this all again in a couple of years.

And here we are two years later, preparing to start appointments again for our next precious gift!

Hebrew Video Lessons

A / An Grammar Song

In teaching this concept to my present first-grader, I found this cute, helpful video:

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Madeline: 10 years old

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Well, we’re just a tad behind with this one… 9 months to be exact… (That was at the time of doing the actual interview.  Tack on another five months to get it published…)

You could have had a baby in that time!

Yes, that’s how delayed this interview has been.  I could have grown and birthed a baby since you actually turned 10. (But she’s not 11 yet, so sitting in the Black Bear campground parking lot on a date, we are determined to capture her 10 ¾ year old self.)

So, tell me about 5th grade.

Well, it’s harder than 4th grade.

What kinds of interesting things are you learning?

Mostly in science.  Eyeballs, nose, nostrils.

What about history?

Ooh! That’s one of my favorites! Well, partly because I get to draw while you’re reading to us.  Also, though, I do enjoy hearing about all the … I guess you could say, strange … achievements.  Like how Alexandria got its name.  We’ve been talking about the Greeks.  They were very double-minded.  Very, very double minded.  They would say, “Hey! You’re our hero!”  And then when the hero did some teensy weensy thing they didn’t like, they would say, “We banish you!” And then two years later, when they’re in trouble they say, “Hey! Come rescue us!”  Double minded Greeks…

Hebrew is actually my favorite. Ani ohevet pizza.  (Translated: I like pizza.) Ani ohevet mischpacha v’morah.  (Translated: I love my family and teacher.)  Ani yalda.  (Translated: I am a girl.)  Ani lo kelev.  (I am  not a dog.)

What do you like to do when you’re not doing school?

Oh, all kinds of things!  Write, draw, play with siblings, eat.

(She neglected to mention reading.  This girl reads all the time.  She consumes books ridiculously quickly. Below are some moments Erich caught of Madeline reading at Mimi and Grandpa’s house.)

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Let’s develop some of those things a bit.  Tell me more about your writing.

One thing every one of my stories has in common (except when I was littler) is all of them are very, very complicated.  This is a relative of this character, who is the mother of the daughter, who is the sister of this girl, who is actually adopted into the family…You get the picture.

And what types of stories do you write?

I write novels.  And series of books. Most of them are dramedies.  They are dramas with some comedy.

I wrote Luctom the Croc, which is basically a comedy. Luctom is this crocodile and he is the largest one in the zoo.  This was actually based on a trip to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm that we took.  We stayed in this fancy hotel and ate wonderful breakfast.  Man, that was fun.  Well, so… He’s this crocodile who is grumpy.  He doesn’t want to be bothered or messed with.  He was annoyed by everything and everyone. They put a girl crocodile in, and they mated.

Does he get happy after he has a wife?

Yep! The story doesn’t really have a point or teach anything.  It’s just supposed to be fun.

(bathroom break)

Tell me a bit about your drawings.

Well, I kinda go through phases with drawing. There was one point where I drew Esther. Esther. Esther.  You get the picture. One of the biggest sections in my drawing binder is the Esther section.

Now I am going through a Mary and Joseph and Yeshua phase.  Drawing all about that era.  Different scenes, like the wise men going to see Yeshua when he was a baby.  I put the scenes in order, from when Mary was pregnant and she went to see Elizabeth, and John jumped in her tummy. Then Joseph and Mary were traveling to Bethlehem.  And then Yeshua was born and the wise men came to see him.  There are more.

Tell me what you like to play with your siblings.

Well, we play cars with/without eyes.  We have a big rug with a road outside on the carport.  And we take our cars and drive them along the road and play with them.  Some of the cars have eyes, like the ones from the movie Cars.  There are also Hotwheels and toy Corvettes, which don’t have eyes. (Hence the name.)

And we also like to play pitch ball.  It’s a game we made up earlier today where someone sits in our little purple baby seat and there’s a blue ball… And there has to be at least three players.  So, that’s at least Kieryn, Anson, and I… Earlier this morning, there was Simeon too, which made it even more fun.  So, for example, Kieryn had the blue ball and Anson was sitting in the purple seat.  I stood by as a witness.  Kieryn gently tossed the ball when Anson wasn’t ready.  Or tried to at least.

So the point was to try to throw it when the other person wasn’t ready?

Yes. Anson tried to block the ball from hitting him, using his hands.  If Anson blocked the ball, Kieryn struck one.  If Kieryn hit Anson, then Anson struck one.  Three strikes and you’re out.  The person standing by takes the place of the one who struck out.  That’s really fun!

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Tell me about your relationship with your siblings.

Anson and I are about the same age (2 years difference), so that makes us closer than the other siblings, in that sense.  So, he and I can relate in a lot of things.

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Like you do some school together.

Yes, like Hebrew.

And Kieryn and I are so close that Kieryn let me share the top bunk with her, and we sleep there together almost all the time.

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Simeon and I are just about the youngest and the oldest. Except for Eden… So, we do some things together.  Sometimes Kieryn and Anson will be doing something with dad and Simeon and I will go jump on the trampoline by ourselves.

Once he helped you make up a really yummy cookie recipe, right?

Yes! That’s one of my favorites!  He likes to help me cook.  He’s one of the first siblings who comes up and says, “Can I help, Madeline?”  It’s rare that something would get in the way of him helping me.  It’s fun.

Also my relationship with Eden is great, even though she’s little and I’m bigger.  After mommy, she chooses me (most of the time). She and I do fun stuff too!  Like, we go and jump lightly on the trampoline together.  She loves that.  And I’ll walk up to Hank, and she’ll smile and squeal and reach out her hand.  I’ll show her how to pet gently.  We say, “geeeentle” in a soft voice.  (Sighs)  Good times.

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What else?

Well, you said you also like to eat.  So, tell me about the foods you like to eat or cook.

I love this subject! I like to cook.  Some of my favorite recipes are posted on my blog.

As far as eating goes, I enjoy eating quesadillas with beans inside and sour cream, guacamole, and salsa on top.  Yum!  I also like macaroni and cheese with broccoli.  And grilled chicken on salad.  Mmmm… I could name a million more things if they would come to mind…

What about desserts?

Yes! White bean cupcakes with whipped cream and strawberries!  Or black bean cupcakes with Memere’s frosting.  And I looooove Navajo Fry Bread.  And macademia nut clusters.  And banana split cake.

What kind of spiritual things are you learning lately?

Daddy’s been teaching us about watching our words and putting on the armor of God – the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the belt of truth, the sword of the word, the shoes of readiness… Is that it?  Oh! The helmet of … I just looked at it this morning… The helmet of …

Want a hint?

Yes! What letter does it start with?

S… Want another hint?

No! … It’s not Satan.

True! We don’t put the helmet of Satan on!

It’s not slimy either.  Or sandwich.

Correct! Ready for another hint?  I can tell you the Hebrew version of the word.

Fine.

Yeshua.

Salvation!

Good! 

And with that, it’s time for us to head over to get some ice cream before we go back to the house.  This girl is a joy to watch grow up.  She is a delight to us.  A magnificent gift.

 

Kieryn: Six years old

So we actually succeeded in doing an interview really close to her birthday! And by “we” I actually mean “Madeline.”  She has been helping me stay on-top of the birthday interviews this year. Madeline conducted the interview two days after Kieryn’s sixth birthday.  It just took me all the rest of this time to get pictures put in here…

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So, how do you feel as a six-year-old girl?

I like it. I like getting older and older.

Good, because you’ll be doing a lot of that! 🙂

Well, I’m in first grade.

That’s a good start. Umm. How do you like school?

Good. It’s not hard though.

Well, you must be a very smart girl then.

Thank you.

You’re welcome. Do you want to mention a subject you like best?

I like science. And I like Starfall. I like writing.

(Yes. She is such a wonderful, hard-working girl who loves to learn and read. Just recently, I finished a hand-written book and she loves to read it!)

What else do you like?

Hmmm. I like playing with my siblings.

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What else?

I don’t know, but I like playing with baby dolls with Madeline.

I like doing that with you too, but…. what do you like about having four siblings?

What?

(I repeat the question.)

Jumping on the trampoline, riding bikes.

Good, well.. if you could choose three things that you would like to be able to do that you’re not allowed to do now, what would they be?

Ride bikes to the end of the road.

That’s one thing.

I… I want… I want to meet new friends in our neighborhood.

What’s another thing? One more thing.

Mmmmm. (She thinks for a minute and clicks her tongue in her mouth.) Why do you record everything I do?

So, what would you like to be when you get older?

I want to be a farmer. I want to make a place called Sugar Queen. (Ever since she’s been little, she has been the person in the family to finish her treats and offers to finish everyone else’s too. Now she wants to begin an ice cream shop called the “Sugar Queen” when she grows up.)

Okay, so explain what a “D.S.” is.

What kind of D.S.?

The kind that you think about.

Oh. I thought so. It’s a dream story kind of thing. When you grow up and have kids and get married. If you do get married and you do have kids.

So, what does that mean?

What do you mean?

Tell me how you grow up all of a sudden.

What do you mean?

What I’m saying is: Tell me what you do when you do a D.S.

You just lie down or sit down. You can close your eyes or open your eyes. And just pretend like you’re grown up. It’s easy, all right.

Well, why don’t you tell me what happened just recently in your D.S.

Oh you mean… when Zeke..

Well, explain what everything is, too.

Huh? What do you mean.

Well, who’s Zeke??

Oh. When I grow up, Zeke is one of my kids. He is.. ummm… mmmmm.. (she slaps her knee) Oh… Oh, Zeke is one. What do I say?

What were you saying before? About Zeke?

Well, Zeke crawled out to the road. And almost got hit. It freaked me to death.

In your D.S.?

Yep.

What else?

Hmmm… I don’t know.

Why don’t you tell everyone about Happy Helpers.

We do this thing where we go across the neighborhood and help people.

How do we help?

We do chores and….

And what?

I don’t know?

Okay, so I have a silly question for you.

What is it?

If you could choose any animal that all of your family members could be, what would we be?

Lambs I guess. Or pigs that roll in the mud!!

You’re funny. And, I have another question for you: What is Daddy working on with you? Like, are you talking about sadness or fear?

I guess sometimes fear.

I have a couple more things for you and then we can be done, okay?

Okay.

Umm.. What is your favorite kind of treat?

I don’t know!

Well, then, what’s your favorite Bible story?

I don’t know. I like Esther.

Okay. What do you like to play with Eden?

I don’t know.

Well, okay. I guess we’ll wrap up now then. Say bye!

Bye!!

(So Kieryn is quite funny, but she’s also such a blessing! You should see her around the house and while she’s interacting with siblings or friends! Also, I’ll have you know that one time before, I wrote: “Love you sweet girl” inside her notebook and then, just today, I found the same thing written in her handwriting inside my own book! 🙂 I truly love her so much!)

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Kieryn’s Kindergarten Year

We’re about ready to start our 2016-2017 year tomorrow.  Madeline starts 6th grade (I still think something must have gotten messed up somewhere, because that doesn’t seem possible).  Anson starts 4th.  And Kieryn starts 1st.

Before we begin, I thought I’d post the recap of Kieryn’s kindergarten year that our umbrella school asked me to turn in. (I have been so absent on this blog, that advantage needs to be taken when I can capture any memories with little extra effort.)

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Kieryn had been eager to begin school for a while, but given my busyness with two in school ahead of her, and one toddler and a newborn behind her, I was not as eager.  Her oldest sibling, Madeline, however, began doing “school” with her when she was four, and by the time she began kindergarten this past school year, she was well-primed and ready to go.

Bible

We used Sonbeams as the basis for our Bible time.  Each week, we had a new verse to learn, going in ABC order.  The verses we memorized are:

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
Believe in the Lord Yeshua and you will be saved. (Acts 16:31)
Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. (Ephesians 6:1)
Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace and pursue it. (Psalm 34:14)
Even a child is known by his actions by whether his conduct is pure and right. (Proverbs 20:11)
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16)
God is love (1 John 4:16)
Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by YHWH? (Deuteronomy 33:29)
I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6)
Knock and the door will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. (Mark 12:30)
Make a joyful noise to YHWH, all the earth! (Psalm 100:1)
Nothing will be impossible for you. (Matthew 17:20)
Do not be Overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21)
Praise YHWH! (Psalm 148:1)
Look! I am coming Quickly and my reward is with me to repay each person according to what he has done. (Revelation 22:12)
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)
Trust in YHWH with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)
Sing Unto YHWH a new song; Sing unto YHWH, all the earth. (Psalm 96:1)
I am the Vine; you are the branches. He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
Do not be anXious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)
YHWH your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)

At the beginning of the week, we would read the verse and sing a song version of the verse.  Kieryn would read along in a “box” form of the verse, where every word was written in its own box like this:

Kieryn Kindergarten Scripture Box

After reading it, she would cut it into horizontal strips and would have to place it back in order.  The next day, we’d sing our verse song again and then cut the strips vertically one time.  She would again piece the words into the correct order. She continued cutting the strip each day until all the words were separate.  She also did a handwriting sheet where she traced the words of the verse.

Kieryn joins us for our daily family Bible time that her Daddy leads.  She also reads independently from her own storybook Bible.

Typing

Kieryn has completed a typing tutorial program on BBC’s website. It has four levels, each focusing on a group of keys.  It effectively teaches kids how to properly place their fingers and rewards them with dancing animals singing silly songs at the end of each level.

Phonics

Kieryn completed her phonics program using the Starfall website and workbooks.  She is a very proficient reader, eager to practice her ever-expanding skills.

Writing

Taking after her big sister, who loves to write, Kieryn enjoys writing short stories. Most of her stories include words sounded out phonetically, which adds unintended adventure to the reading.  Occasionally, Kieryn will type a story and her sister will act as editor, correcting grammar. Other times, her sister will act as transcriptionist, typing out the story as Kieryn dictates it. Following is an excerpt from one such story:

Chapter 1

Dina was in a shack. It was her home. And she had lost her family. Her dog was named Marina. It was a girl dog. Dina ran with her dog to the store. Dina made her own bowls and plates out of sticks and other nature items. She got bread, butter, milk, eggs, and dog food. She paid ten dollars. She ran back with her dog. (Marina didn’t have a leash on either.) She ran back. She made dinner over a fire. And she gave Marina some dog food. And she ate some food. And then they went to bed.

Math

Kieryn completed the Math U See Primer book this year.  Though she still needs a bit more work to remember how to write the numbers 11-19, and how to skip count by fives, I have no doubt she’ll gain mastery of those as we review them in the next level.

Science

Kieryn joined her siblings as they studied elementary anatomy and physiology.  She colored sheets showing different bones, organs, and blood vessels.  She also memorized poems about each of the five senses:

Eyes

I need my eyes, so I can see
I don’t have five, or one, or three
Just two eyes upon my face
It seems to be a common place
For eyes to sit on animals
From frogs, to fish, from bears, to gulls

Two eyes, one face – that’s a match
But really here’s a little catch
Spiders see with eight bug-eyes
And here’s another eye surprise
Scallops have most of all
More than fifty! Must see all!
I’ll stick with two; they let me see
My two eyes are good for me!

Tongue

If sweet-sweet candy had no taste
That would be a total waste!

Chocolate milk that tastes like water?
Won’t be found on my order

Pizza pies that taste like air?
That’s not right! That’s not fair!

That won’t happen, for I know
Tongue’s the one in the show

Salty, sour, bitter, sweet
My tongue’s taste buds can’t be beat

My tongue, the organ, gives me taste
Without it foods would be a waste!

Skin

Skinny Skin, stretched smoothly tight
Around my body day and night

Largest organ that I own
Bigger than my brain or bone

My skin gives me the sense of touch
Hot or cold, smooth or rough

Hard or soft, hand or heel
It’s my skin that lets me feel

Be Glad Your Nose is on Your Face
Jack Prelutsky

 

Be glad your nose is on your face,
not pasted on some other place,
for if it were where it is not,
you might dislike your nose a lot.

Imagine if your precious nose
were sandwiched in between your toes,
that clearly would not be a treat,
for you’d be forced to smell your feet.

Your nose would be a source of dread
were it attached atop your head,
it soon would drive you to despair,
forever tickled by your hair.

Within your ear, your nose would be
an absolute catastrophe,
for when you were obliged to sneeze,
your brain would rattle from the breeze.

Your nose, instead, through thick and thin,
remains between your eyes and chin,
not pasted on some other place–
be glad your nose is on your face!

Ears

An ear splitting sound!
A crash and a boom!
Ringing so loudly,
It shook the whole room!

But I didn’t hear it
I couldn’t at all
My left and right ear
Had gone to the mall!

My left and right ear
My organs that hear
Had gone to go shopping
And that’s what I fear

Without my 2 ears
That spectacular pair
I can’t hear sound waves
Move through the air!

Disposition towards school

Kieryn is an excellent student.  In fact, she’s been my easiest student so far!  In general, she is very focused, has a cheerful attitude, does careful work, and does not get easily discouraged by corrections. I am so thankful for these things!